Paul Nicol Jr., the nation's leading jockey, set a Pimlico record today, riding winners in seven of the nine races.

The eclipsed mark of six was held by Chris McCarron and Vince Bracciale.

Apprentice Nicol, 23, who had won the last two races on Tuesday, rode the winners of today's first four races before finishing second in the fifth. He came back with a victory in the sixth, was off the board in the seventh, then scored in the feature astride Promiser, and won the finale to bring his total for the meeting to 103 in 73 days.

"It just surprised me when I won five because that's the first time I ever won five races," Nicol said. "When I went on to win seven, that really topped it off."

McCarron holds the record of 118 winners for a 60-day meeting, set in 1974.

Today's seven winners brought Nicol's total to 173 this year and his winning percentage to better than 25 percent. He has accomplished his impressive statistics despite serving two seven-day suspensions in the Pimlico meeting.

Nicol is a native of Edgewater, Md., and his father is a metalworker at the Pentagon.

He said, "I lose my apprentice allowance tomorrow (Thursday), so today's seven winners helps me convince trainers and owners that I can ride a race horse."

Nicol got one of his mounts by chance. Pac Soldier, his winner in the third race, was scheduled to be ridden by Donald Miller Jr. until Miller took himself off because of a bruised ankle.

In both the races that Nicol lost, the winning jockey was apprentice Peter Fiato, who has ridden 15 winners in only one month as a rider.